Review by TerranRedneck
"A nearly flawless action game with a few camera issues"
Devil May Cry is one of the more established PS2 titles and there is good reason for it to be. It is one of the most enthralling and visually stunning console games out there and yet there is never a break in the action. The game has been around for a while and you should not have trouble finding it for sale pre-owned in the 20-25 dollar range. It is definitely worth the money if you have yet to get a hold of this future classic.
Gameplay - 9/10 - No matter how beautiful a game may be it also has to have some interesting gameplay to keep a player hooked. Luckily Devil May Cry does not come up short on the gameplay like some of the other titles out there. If you have played Onimusha you have the general idea of how this game works. You are Dante, a trenchcoat clad humanoid/devil private investigator who is decked out complete with swords, guns, and transformation abilities. You smoothly guide Dante about the screen with the analog stick whilst performing giant acrobatic leaps and dives. The control is quite responsive, but the camera angles tend to be a large issue. As you move around the backgrounds the camera will often choose a very bad angle leaving all the action obscured, this is not that bad when exploring but it can be fatal during a boss fight and also quite annoying and frustrating. As you maneuver Dante about the screen you can select from a wide variety of attacks, there are electric swords and flaming gauntlets. The game play is fast and furious and very responsive whilst being visually exciting. A true action game. The real fun comes when you combo together old school swordplay with new fangled shotguns and dual pistols. Using some nice combos you can knock an enemy skyward with your giant devil sword and then proceed to juggle them suspended in air with your handguns much like in a meeting of the Matrix and a John Woo flick. Nothing impresses your friends more than Dante jumping skyward and then hovering in the air with his trenchcoat waving in the wind as he unleashes a hail of buckshot on a fallen foe.
As you kill and explore you earn red orbs which are basically used as cash. You can buy a few different items such as a longer life bar, healing items, and continues. By far the coolest thing to buy is new special moves for Dante to learn. After spending some hard earned cash you can then execute your newly acquired skill using a key combination. Boomerang swords, flaming uppercuts, and freaky flying demonic possessions are just a few of the permanent upgrades you can purchase. This type of leveling up system encourages scouting for new areas and picking fights with baddies just to earn cash. It blends in nicely with the gameplay and really makes the game deep and enthralling.
The enemies you fight are not as varied as I would like them to be but the cast of characters is still enough to keep gameplay fresh. As a bonus as you fight with enemies and learn more about their behavior in battle information is documented in your journal about them. Each enemy has it's own little quirks and patterns, and each has their strengths and weaknesses you must learn to progress without trouble. There are evil mannequins, lizard warriors, mutant insects and plenty of other creatures to chop and blast into little bloody piles. If handled properly you can take down the enemy warriors but sometimes they will just swamp you with sheer numbers and you'll fall to their blades before you know what happened. The bosses are really what this game is all about. They are huge images onscreen and have a variety of attacks at their disposal. These hellspawn are 100 times larger than you and can seriously whip your ass if you are not careful/lucky. Unfortunately some boss battles may be too overwhelming for some gamers as they happen often and can be difficult if you haven't level built enough to get powered up and get familiar with your character. The fluctuating difficulty level combined with often poor camera movement are the only things keeping this game from getting a perfect rating.
Graphics - 10/10 - This game definitely does not visually disappoint. The backgrounds are lush and immersive with good lighting effects, animations, and interactivity. You can be progressing down a dark and dank underground tunnel or jumping and exploring a huge cathedral overgrown with plant life. Your character is very well animated with flowing clothes, smoking guns, crackling electric swords, and bouncing spent shell casings. The animation is sharp and detailed and keeps up with the frantic pace of the games action. There is a wide variety of well animated attacks and combos which look devastating onscreen. One of the high points in the animation is when you hold the lock on button to pull your firearm out and point them at the nearest enemy. Nothing is more graphically exciting than seeing Dante strolling about onscreen collect cash from fallen foes with his dual handguns drawn popping caps at three surrounding enemies like a true original gangster. You must see his hand to hand and gunplay animation at work to get a real idea of how well they pull it off. Of course where you have massive amounts of gunfire you have to have massive amounts of blood. Blood gushes forth from a fallen enemy like water from a firehose. Drips, sprays, and splatters all perfectly executed and well deserving of the gore warning on the bootup screen. And as if Dante's human form was not enough he also has various demon forms he can transform into. When in Devil Trigger mode Dante could be a flying winged gargoyle type demon firing lightening blasts through helpless enemies below. The purple shockwaves look great onscreen and fill the game with flash and action without sacrificing gameplay.
Another big bonus in the graphics area are the numerous bosses and their cutscenes. The bosses are varied while sticking to a unifying demonic theme. Their attack animations are vibrant and help keep you on the edge of your seat dodging the wide variety of stunning tricks the bad guys have. Not only do the bosses fire some cool looking laser beacons and lava pillars, they also tend to be very large onscreen. I'm saying you only come up to the ankles of some of these massive beasts. Yet they can all be beat and it usually triggers a satisfying cutscene. The cinemas are a little campy at times but some parts like the motorcycle segment are a good one to show off to friends. Any issues arising from jaggy lines or bad camera angles can be put aside as all other visual aspects of this game are near perfect including the menus. The menus are large and vibrant while keeping to the theme of the game. Nothing beats the little animations played when you equip a weapon. The onscreen displays stick to the theme, yet provide all the vital info without being obtrusive. A nearly flawless execution.
Audio - 8/10 - Audio is not an overwhelming part of most action video games but that doesn't mean that Devil May Cry has neglected the music and sound effects on this game. The voice acting is a wee bit budget but some of the lines would be impossible to pull off with total seriousness. The voices of the bosses is always cool sounding just due to the crazy voice filters they ran the audio through. The music is quiet and unassuming until you get jumped by an enemy death squad and then the adrenaline techno starts to kick in and slowly fades as the opposition is dispatched. Sound effects are fitting for all attacks and can be useful in timing combos. From the distinctive sound of a double barrel shotgun discharging with spent shells bouncing on the marble floor to the crunching zap of a skeleton being thrashed with an electric slash this game definitely has it all.
Overall - 9/10 - A near perfect score for a nearly perfect game. Devil may Cry has a descent story that combines magic and technology with a fine blend of close up melee combat and long distance attacking. Fans of Onimusha or even Max Payne or Zone of the Enders would be impressed with this Capcom classic. There are definitely some serious issues with the difficulty of some sections and bosses. Sometimes you will effortlessly whip through 6 missions and then get hung up on one miniboss battle for a frustratingly long time. Luckily there are a wide variety of skill levels to unlock. Another serious issue is the control when passing from one screen to another, the joystick does not automatically recalibrate the onscreen directions so you will find Dante running to the left whilst you are holding to the right. Combine that behavior with some camera angles which just don't work and you have a 9 out of 10 game. Otherwise the execution is flawless and it all combines to provide a visually stunning game with lots of smooth fastpaced action and some somewhat deep character building. One of the best PS2 games out there right now.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/04/02, Updated 02/04/02
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